Orchids of Thailand

In March I went to Thailand for a couple of weeks to see orchids growing in their natural habitat. It was an absolutely mind-blowing trip, I would go back there tomorrow if I could.

This is the first of a series of posts about my Thai adventures; below are a few paragraphs about the tour itself, if you would like to know more details please visit the tour organisers’ website:

http://www.theorchidman.com/#/page/home/

Orchids of Thailand

The aim of the Orchids of Thailand tour is to take tour members to a range of different orchid habitats and enable them to actually see orchids growing in their natural wild state, at a time when many of the plants are in flower. This makes it possible to compare the climatic conditions and observe the different orchid species growing in each habitat.

The organiser, leader and guide for the whole tour is Peter Williams, who owns a nursery in Thailand and runs all aspects of Mae Tang Orchids. He has lived in Thailand since 1990, prior to this he was the manager of a large garden centre in England. Peter spends around four months a year in the UK, promoting the orchid tours and selling his orchids. The rest of the year he is in Thailand, supervising the growing of orchids at his nursery and undertaking exploratory trips to various wild habitats.

During the tour there are several treks into special orchid-rich areas that Peter has discovered over several years. These treks are exclusive to the tour as the areas visited are in remote places, which are not promoted. This is why the orchid flora is so great, as in the well known trails around national parks the orchids within reach have been removed by the locals to sell.

IMG_8506

The first orchid I saw growing in the wild – Dendrobium infundibulum

For this reason Peter is also accompanied by local guides, who live and work in the forests and have a wealth of knowledge; they know the areas visited like the back of their hands. As the guides are regulars on Peter’s tour they know exactly what needs to be found and often know of new orchid-rich areas they have discovered since the previous years tour.

Whilst on the tour there is also the opportunity to visit orchid farms, local plant markets, botanical gardens and some of the many cultural attractions of northern Thailand. This enables tour members to not only witness the truly spectacular orchid flora but also to become completely immersed in the surrounding culture, gaining a rounded experience on a personal as well as a botanical level.

The tour is aimed to coincide with the end of the cold season and start of the hot season which is when a large number of orchids stimulated by the rise in temperature after winter dormancy start to flower – hence this is the best time of year to see a wide range of different orchid species in flower.

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PGG Study Tour of the Algarve – Cape St. Vincent

This is another post about the time I spent in Portugal earlier this year. To read the first post in this series please click here.

A definite highlight of the study tour was exploring Cape St. Vincent. This was not part of the itinerary, our last day in the Algarve was free to do whatever we fancied before heading to the airport. We agreed as a group that it would be criminal to be in the Algarve without visiting one of its most famous areas with one of the richest floras in Europe. So we set off early and had most of the day to explore.

View of the cliffs

View of the surrounding cliffs

One of the beaches

A beach at Cape St. VincentThe dramatic, 100 metre high cliffs at Cape St. Vincent consist of hard dolomitic limestone very unlike the sandstone cliffs with which the Algarve region is generally associated. The numerous plants that live on the limestone cliffs have capitalised on the sand which, as a result of filling the cracks and fissures in the rock, maintains a higher level of moisture than would generally be found in this inhospitable and windswept environment.

Although the ocean that pounds the coast of Cape St. Vincent is the Atlantic, the warm wet winters and long hot and dry summers are far more reminiscent of the Mediterranean region. As a result the plants, birds and animals found are far more typical of the Mediterranean than they are of the northern European countries, the coasts of which are also dominated by the Atlantic ocean.

Colourful ground-covering plants

Colourful carpet of groundcover plants

Thymus camphoratus

Thymus camphoratusAs soon as we stepped out of the car I was in heaven. Plants were littered along the roadside right to the clifftops, we literally stumbled across Ophrys fusca which was growing on the verge!

The combination of whites, pinks, yellows and blues patterning the clifftops like a vivid carpet was a joy to behold. I noticed typical plants growing together like Matthiola sinuata with the purple pimpernel Anagallis monelli which is one of the most common and memorable plants of the Algarve and found almost anywhere close to the coast. One of the prettiest of the wildflowers was Iberis procumbens, which forms brilliant white pincushions.

Ophrys fusca

Ophrys fusca

Anagallis monelli

Anagallis monelliI couldn’t get over seeing snapdragons growing wild. The red Antirrhinum majus blooms were everywhere, any yellow ones are likely to be escapees from nearby gardens!

The Hottentot fig, Carpobrotus edulis, was out in full force, a highly invasive weed from South Africa which smothers and suffocates the native plants. It has very pretty flowers for such a thuggish plant!

Wild snapdragons, Antirrhinum majus

Antirrhinum majus en mass

Carpobrotus edulis

Carpobrotus edulisAstragalus tragacantha subsp. vincentina, a low-growing leguminous shrub and both the creamy-yellow and purple-flowering types of Honeywort, Cerinthe major, were also common.

Cistus palhinhae dominated the clifftops, a rare endemic to Cape St. Vincent. It closely resembles Cistus ladanifer which is found throughout the rest of the Algarve except that the flower petals of this species don’t have the maroon spots that occur on the petals of C. ladanifer.

Cistus palhinhae

Cistus palhinhae

The cliffs covered in cloud

Cloud along the cliffsI loved how there were no fences or barriers along the cliffs, just a sheer drop! I can see why it was known as ‘The End of the World’ in the Middle Ages. At one point the cloud rolled inland and we could barely see in front of us, it was a very eerie atmosphere. We retreated until the skies cleared again as we didn’t fancy losing our way in the fog!

Although I took plenty of photos I realised no camera would ever do it justice. The atmosphere was enchanting, like an energy was inviting me to stay. It was a privilege having time to sit down and take a moment to just absorb it all and be as one with the surroundings – it was hard to tear myself away.

Dipcadi serotinum

Dipcadi serotinum

Close-up of the ground-cover plants

Close-up of the groundcoverThe landscape combined with the flora made it the most beautiful, amazing place I’ve ever seen. We saw some spectacular sights throughout our week in the Algarve, Cape St. Vincent was a personal highlight for me. I hope to return again in the future. . .

Cliffs with the lighthouse in the background

Cliffs with the lighthouse in the background

Lotus creticus in focus with cliffs in the background

Lotus creticus in focus with cliffs in background

Plants noted:

  • Allium subvillosum
  • Ammophila arenaria
  • Anagallis monelli
  • Antirrhinum majus
  • Armeria pungens
  • Asteriscus maritimus
  • Astragalus tragacantha subsp. vincentina
  • Biscutella vicentina
  • Carpobrotus edulis
  • Cerinthe major
  • Cistus palhinhae
  • Corema alba
  • Crucianella maritima
  • Daucus halophilus
  • Dipcadi serotinum
  • Euphorbia paralias
  • Halimium calycinum
  • Halimium halimifolium
  • Iberis procumbens
  • Juniperus phoenicea
  • Lavandula stoechas
  • Lithodora diffusa
  • Lotus creticus
  • Matthiola sinuata
  • Narcissus bulbocodium
  • Ophrys fusca
  • Ophrys speculum
  • Paronychia argentea
  • Phagnalon rupestre
  • Polycarpon tetraphyllum
  • Rosmarinus officinalis
  • Sedum sediforme
  • Silene rothmaleri
  • Stauracanthus genistoides
  • Stipa gigantea
  • Thymus camphoratus

NaBloPoMo_2015

PGG Study Tour of the Algarve – Cork Oak

This is another post about the time I spent in Portugal earlier this year. To read the first post in this series please click here.

Rosie took us on a magical mystery tour to visit some cork oak (Quercus suber) forests. We had the use of a car for the week to enable us to get around, I was driving that day and was finding it impossible not to get distracted by the gorgeous scenery and plants en route. We didn’t crash however, we all survived in one piece!

Hills of cork oak trees

Hills of cork oak trees

Selfie!

Me with one of the trees, photo by John GouldWe darted off the main road and followed a dirt track until we reached a copse of cork oak, which was recovering slowly from being burnt. Rosie told us some firemen in Portugal will actually start forest fires so they can earn extra money in the overtime they work, putting out the fires. The fires they start always get out of hand and burn up the surrounding vegetation as well as the trees, hence the cork oak and eucalyptus end up getting pretty much destroyed.

The cork oak is harvested in July/August, the cork is treated to remove fungus and graded before being used. The main trunk is stripped, which happens every 7 to 9 years. The year it was stripped is painted on the outside so any harvesters know when the cork was last taken.

Trees with harvesting numbers visible

Cork oak trees with harvesting numbers visible

A cork oak tree badly burnt

Cork oak tree badly burntThey are pruned to a goblet structure, which is the ideal shape to make removing the cork easier. In Portugal you need a licence to harvest the cork, only skilled people are allowed to do it who are employed by professional companies – it’s a big business.

It was weird seeing trees with their bark half stripped and numbers painted on them, it looked strangely artificial in the natural surroundings. The redder the bare trunk then the more recently it had been stripped, usually September/October time is best for seeing them harvested.

Close-up of the bark

Close up of a cork oak tree

Close-up of the barkOn the way back to Quinta da Figueirinha we passed a field of yellow lupins (Lupinus luteus) which was just stunning. They were gleaming golden in the sunlight, it was like seeing fields of buttercups back home in the UK – the perfect end to a perfect day.

Seeing tree after tree of cork oak was a real highlight of the Algarve trip for me. I remember seeing a cork oak tree for the first time in the Mediterranean Biome at the Eden Project three years ago. The structure and texture of it caught my imagination immediately and I vowed then to see them one day in their natural habitat. To have achieved one of my early dreams in horticulture was a special moment, one I will never forget.

Close-up of Lupinus luteus

Close up of lupins, Lupinus luteus

Me with the lupins

Me with the lupins, photo by Rosie Peddle

NaBloPoMo_2015

PGG Study Tour of the Algarve – Marilyn’s Alvor Garden

This is another post about the time I spent in Portugal earlier this year. To read the first post in this series please click here.

We visited several very different gardens during our time in the Algarve. Both Rosie and Marilyn wanted to show us the diversity in designing gardens for a Mediterranean climate, primarily with the waterwise garden theme in mind.

Perennial planting

Another view of the perennial planting

Close-up of an ornamental grass

Close-up of one of the grassesThe second garden we visited with Marilyn was in Alvor, Portimão. It was larger than the previous one and felt more cohesive as a whole to me. Marilyn explained that when the new owners of the property moved in they quickly realised that the 350 square metre lawn wasn’t making sense, financially or aesthetically. After researching Mediterranean garden styles, they opted for a naturalistic gravel garden, thickly planted with herbs, perennials and grasses.

I liked the symmetrical clumps of perennials with swathes of grasses weaving through. The mixture of different heights, colours and textures gave it a dynamic, but not overpowering, appearance. It was a clever way of manipulating the space, seemingly creating a cascading topography within a flat area.

Close-ups of the perennial planting

Clump of perennial planting

Echium candicans

Echium candicansOnce the grass was weed-killed and ploughed into the soil, a 5cm dressing of gravel was laid on top, leaving a blank canvas on which to lay out the plants. The plants were watered fortnightly through the first summer and now not at all.

It was a year since Marilyn had finished planting it, the rich loamy soil has supported extraordinary growth in the first year. The plants looked so well established it was like they had been there for years.

Lavandula stoechas

Lavandula stoechas

Another view of the garden

View of the gardenThe combination of Echium candicans with Euphorbia rigida and Salvia ‘Royal Bumble’ was striking, the red against the lime-greeney yellow was a winner. A Grevillea robusta was present, also known as the silky oak. It’s the largest species in the genus, it was a fantastic specimen in the garden.

A plant I hadn’t seen before which was used in the repeat planting was Ballota pseudodictamnus, in the Lamiaceae family. It had aromatic, white hairy leaves with small pink flowers in whorls toward the stem tips. The foliage worked well as a contrast amongst the rest of the colourful planting.

The garden again

Another view of the garden

Euphorbia myrsinites

Euphorbia myrsinitesI didn’t know the herb Sideritis cypria was used as tea in Greece, Marilyn said it has a strong citrus flavour. I was tempted to take some home and try it! An interesting climber was Stephanotis floribunda. It had white jasmine-like flowers and is common as a houseplant in the UK. Two species of honeysuckle were climbing alongside it (Lonicera japonica and L. implexa), the fragrance was overwhelming.

Stones and pebbles were used to cover the ground near the lower growing plants such as Euphorbia myrsinites as a nod to a little rockery.

Ground-cover planting

Groundcover planting

Ornamental grasses

GrassesIt was great being able to see a couple of the gardens Marilyn had designed, especially after seeing one of her presentations earlier in the week.

Plants noted:

  • Ballota pseudodictamnus
  • Dodonaea viscosa
  • Echium candicans
  • Euphorbia myrsinites
  • Euphorbia rigida
  • Grevillea robusta
  • Jasminum polyanthum
  • Lavandula stoechas
  • Lonicera implexa
  • Lonicera japonica
  • Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’
  • Salvia ‘Royal Bumble’
  • Salvia x jamensis
  • Sideritis cypria
  • Stephanotis floribunda
  • Strelitzia reginae
  • Yucca gigantea

NaBloPoMo_2015

PGG Study Tour of the Algarve – Marilyn’s Carvoeiro Garden

This is another post about the time I spent in Portugal earlier this year. To read the first post in this series please click here.

We visited several very different gardens during our time in the Algarve. Both Rosie and Marilyn wanted to show us the diversity in designing gardens for a Mediterranean climate, primarily with the waterwise garden theme in mind.

The rockery

View of the rockery

The rockeryWe spent the day visiting two gardens which had been Marilyn’s projects this time last year. The first one was in Carvoeiro, Lagoa, a garden nestled into the hillside. Marilyn had basically redesigned the whole garden as the previous planting wasn’t suited to the climate or overall conditions.

Both rockeries were original, Marilyn had altered the structure of both so more soil could be incorporated and to generally make them less “currant bun” like. More appropriate plants were chosen, I liked the variety of succulents and cacti used which provided great colour and texture. Echeveria setosa had wonderfully furry leaves with orange flowers, a very cute specimen! Portulacaria afra var. prostrata was similar to Crassula, a popular succulent for bonsai. This variety is a particularly low growing form.

Echeveria setosa

Echeveria setosa

View from the garden

View from the gardenWhat used to be a long strip of lawn is now a Mediterranean walk with a mixture of grasses, herbs and colourful herbaceous perennials. A weed proof membrane was laid underneath the gravel area before planting, to help keep maintenance down.

The popular hybrid cistus Cistus x purpureus (a cross between C. ladanifer and C. crispus) was used, another cistus I hadn’t heard of before was Cistus x skanbergii, a dwarf rockrose with pale pink flowers.

The Mediterranean walk

Mediterranean walk

Cistus x skanbergii

Cistus x skanbergiiThe clump planting of Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Boule’ was very effective, it sprawled across the gravel like an octopus! The fragrance was heavenly too. Syzygium paniculatum is a dense bushy rainforest tree which is used for hedging not just in Marilyn’s gardens but in quite a few gardens in the Algarve.

It was a year since Marilyn had finished planted it, I was surprised to hear no fertiliser was used prior to planting, only slight mycorrhizal fungi. Everything had established incredibly quickly and was obviously thriving.

Euphorbia rigida

Euphorbia rigida

Succulents growing along the wall

Succulents along the wallThe plants were given deep watering by hose occasionally through the first two summers, now there is no need for watering. The owners are happy as they are no longer spending small fortunes on irrigation!

The owners have recently purchased the land next door which Marilyn is taking on as a new project in September (2015). She’s hoping to turn it into a garden with a large wildflower meadow and native perennial planting.

Marilyn’s new project

The land next door, Marilyn's new project

Cyperus papyrus

Cyperus papyrus

Plants noted:

  • Aloe ferox
  • Chamaerops humilis
  • Cistus x purpureus
  • Cistus x skanbergii
  • Convolvulus cneorum
  • Cyperus papyrus
  • Echeveria setosa
  • Euphorbia rigida
  • Euphorbia characias
  • Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
  • Jacaranda mimosifolia
  • Phormium tenax
  • Portulacaria afra var. prostrata
  • Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Boule’
  • Salvia x clevelandii ‘Allen Chickering’
  • Syzygium paniculatum
  • Trachycarpus fortunei
  • Yucca gigantea

NaBloPoMo_2015

PGG Study Tour of the Algarve – Ria Formosa

This is another post about the time I spent in Portugal earlier this year. To read the first post in this series please click here.

After Rosie let us see her garden she then took us to see a famous salt marsh plant community,  Ria Formosa, which was classified as a Natural Park in 1987. It encompasses an area of about 45,000 acres and is protected from the sea by five barrier-islands and two peninsulas. It extends from Anção, near Almancil, eastwards as far as Vila Real de Santo Antonio – covering some 60 kilometres of the eastern Algarve Coast.

View of the salt marshes

View of the salt marshes

Bridge across the salt marshes

Bridge over the salt marshes

Beautiful poolThe Ria Formosa Natural Park is one of the most amazing places of the Algarve, not only for its variety of landscapes but also because of its unique location. Recently elected as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal, it is a unique coastal lagoon which is constantly changing due to the continuous movement of winds, currents and tides.

Due to these natural features and its geographical location it was included in the list of wetlands of world-wide interest defined by the Ramsar Convention. It’s considered an Important Bird Area (IBA) and is part of the Natura 2000 Network.

Tamarix africana

Tamarix africana

Close-up

Close-up of Tamarix africanaThe difference in variety of flora compared to other places we had visited was huge. I loved the huge Tamarix africana swaying in the sea breeze, it looked like sticks of candyfloss! The combination of Vicia sativa growing alongside Lupinus micranthus gave a beautiful effect spreading across the ground.

A plant which was hard to spot was Dipcadi serotinum, the brown bluebell. Its rust-coloured flowers camouflage seamlessly with the surrounding vegetation, a total contrast to the purple bluebells in the UK.

Faro docks in the distance

Faro docks in the distance

Pinus sylvestris

Pinus sylvestris

One of the sand trails

One of the sand trailsArmeria pungens with Lavandula stoechas subsp. stoechas was another marriage made in heaven. An interesting plant we came across was x Halimiocistus sahucii which are hybrids between Cistus and Halimium.

Euphorbia terracina is commonly found on open coastal habitats, a hairless euphorbia with umbels of green bracts. The shape of the stone pines, Pinus pinea, was a superb backdrop against the sandy trails and blue skies.

Lavandula stoechas subsp. stoechas

Lavandula stoechas subsp. stoechas

Pinus pinea

Pinus pineaSpartium junceum, the Spanish broom, were covered in vivid yellow flowers. This is similar to Genista hirsuta but has no spines.

Having a taste of plant life on the coast whetted our appetites for our planned visit to Cape St. Vincent at the end of the week – watch this space. . .

Lupinus micranthus

Lupinus micranthus

Close-up

Close-up of Lupinus micranthus

Plants noted:

  • Anagallis monelli
  • Armeria pungens
  • Arthrocnemum perenne
  • Astragalus tragacantha subsp. vicentinus
  • Atriplex halimus
  • Carpobrotus edulis
  • Dipcadi serotinum
  • Euphorbia terracina
  • x Halimiocistus sahucii
  • Lavandula stoechas subsp. stoechas
  • Limoniastrum monopetalum
  • Lupinus micranthus
  • Matthiola parviflora
  • Muscari comosum
  • Narcissus bulbocodium
  • Ophrys bombyliflora
  • Paronychia argentea
  • Pinus pinea
  • Pinus sylvestris
  • Retama monosperma
  • Salicornia europaea
  • Scilla monophyllos
  • Silene littorea
  • Spartium junceum
  • Tamarix africana
  • Vicia sativa

NaBloPoMo_2015

PGG Study Tour of the Algarve – Rosie’s Garden

This is another post about the time I spent in Portugal earlier this year. To read the first post in this series please click here.

As well as taking us to visit stunning gardens in the Algarve Rosie also showed us her own 4 acre garden, Quinta das Sesmarias. She told us all about the history of the garden over lunch, it was a fascinating story. Rosie and her husband, Rob, arrived in the Algarve in 2004. The land they purchased was abandoned agricultural, the original house had been there since 1991 and left derelict for 5 years.

Rosie’s Garden

View of Rosie's garden

The natural swimming pool

The natural swimming poolThe whole place was overgrown and completely weed ridden. The citrus area was changed the most, they planted species which survived naturally. The soil was very poor, the soil level was changed at the back of the house to create what is now the terrace. The leftover soil was used elsewhere in the garden and was aerated to improve the structure. Pine needles are used as a mulch in other areas of the garden.

Pathways were made as the garden was cleared, the mature trees (carob, almonds and oaks) were the main attraction. Existing shrubs were cut back to create better access throughout the garden, the Pistacia in particular – they can sprout from nothing. Wild olives which have seeded themselves are Olea europaea var. sylvestris, Olea europaea has been cultivated.

More views of the garden

Another view of the garden

Route through the gardenOver time orchids have naturalised in the whole garden, 7 to 8 species now grow here – the same applies for the lavenders. Lots of Cistus seedlings were moved and re-planted in the early days, they appear in the wet season (autumn). The garden was watered for the first few summers after being planted, now not at all.

Lots of native bulbs were also planted, such as:

  • Sternbergia lutea
  • Scilla peruviana
  • Narcissus papyraceus
  • Muscari sp.
  • Narcissus gaditanus

Annual tree surveys are carried out for the standard DDDX (dead, damaged, diseased and crossing wood) in January. Rosie and Rob have one full time person employed to maintain the garden whose main skill is arboriculture.

Selfie in a carob tree!

Me in a carob tree, photo by Jo Huckvale

View from the carob

View of the garden from the top of a carob tree!The carobs (Ceratonia siliqua) are kept under close scrutiny in particular, they are known as “widow makers”. They can be hollow inside yet still produce lots of foliage and fruit and collapse with no warning! The borehole was already in the garden when Rosie and Rob arrived, it is 90 metres deep. Water divining was carried out to discover where the water streams cross to determine where to bore for the holes.

Rosie let us go round the garden by ourselves for the morning, doing a plant identification test as we wandered. She had given us a list of key plants which we had already come across earlier in the week so it was a good test of our memories to see how many we could recognise and which names we could remember.

Wisteria sinensis ‘Rosea’

Wisteria sinensis 'Rosea’

Close-up

Close-up of Wisteria sinensis 'Rosea’We collected specimens of various trees, shrubs, ornamental grasses and climbers, ticking them off the list as we found them. I found it fun working through the list and seeing which plants we came across easily and which ones we had to really search for. We had time for a quick dip in the wonderful natural swimming pool before lunch, it was heaven to bathe in the refreshingly cool water on such a baking hot day.

After lunch we went through all of the plants we had found, then Rosie took us round the garden to point out ones we hadn’t seen. She also showed us other plants which weren’t on the list but which were still interesting species. Serapias lingua, the tongue orchid, was eye-catching, definitely the most attractive-looking species of the genus by far. There were lots of small colonies across the whole garden, it was pretty difficult not to step on them!

Serapias lingua

Serapias lingua Crop

Serapias lingua againTwo salvias caught my eye, Salvia africana-lutea had rust-coloured, hooded flowers. They were strangely beautiful, especially with the sun shining on them. Salvia discolor had an unusual colour combination, indigo-blue flowers with contrasting white-downy calyces. I couldn’t decide which one was my favourite!

I’d heard of Bauhinia blakeana, the orchid tree, before coming to Portugal. Rosie had a great specimen in her garden, it was just a shame it wasn’t flowering! I’ve seen photos of the large purplish-red orchid like flowers, hopefully one day I’ll see them for real.

Salvia africana-lutea

Salvia africana-lutea

Aristolochia baetica

Aristolochia baeticaDicliptera suberecta is a very drought tolerant plant – Rosie is a fan of it in her garden. It has velvety-soft leaves with bright orange tubular shaped flowers, another vivid flowering plant.

Eriocephalus africanus is a shrub with fine grey aromatic foliage which smells like Vicks when crushed! It has snow-white flowers followed by fluffy cotton wool seeds, providing interest for pretty much every season. Another plant perfect for a waterwise garden.

Cistus ladanifer

Cistus ladanifer Crop

Cistus salvifolius with Cistus albidus

Cistus salvifolius with Cistus albidusI didn’t realise Melaleuca alternifolia is the main source of the commercially produced tea tree essential oil. Sarcopoterium spinosum was an interesting evergreen shrub, it had dark green feathery leaves and created a dense mass of impenetrable thorns. A very effective anti-personnel plant!

Vetiver zizanioides is a grass with very perfumed roots, used in aromatherapy. Polygala myrtifolia was a cute shrub, with pea-like whitey-purple flowers which close at night time. Haemanthus coccineus is now my new favourite bulb, also know as the blood flower. It has striking red flowers which look like shaving brushes, very cool.

Euphorbia milii

Euphorbia milii

Cercis siliquastrum

Cercis siliquastrumA euphorbia I hadn’t seen before was Euphorbia milii. It has thorny succulent branches with evergreen leathery leaves. The tiny clusters of small yellow flowers are surrounded by bright red bracts. A feast for the eyes!

I loved the use of Buxus sempervirens fruticosa, also known as dwarf box hedging, to create a low border along the pathway in the citrus area. I never thought I’d see box thriving in Portugal.

Citrus area

Citrus area

Rows of Buxus sempervirens fruticosa

Rows of Buxus sempervirens fruticosaI enjoyed the time we spent in Rosie’s garden immensely, it was one of my favourite days in the Algarve by far. I loved hearing the history behind the garden and learning about all the varied and unusual plants in the garden too. It is a wonderful example of letting nature lead the way by simply enhancing the natural beauty which was there to begin with instead of changing it completely. Some might say it’s a wilderness but I call it paradise.

Strelitzia reginae

Strelitzia reginae

Polygala myrtifolia

Polygala myrtifolia

Plants identified:

  • Trees
  • Ceratonia siliqua
  • Cupressus sempervirens
  • Laurus nobilis
  • Olea europaea
  • Olea europaea var. sylvestris
  • Pinus pinea
  • Prunus dulcis
  • Quercus canariensis
  • Quercus ilex rotundifolia
  • Quercus suber
  • Shrubs
  • Arbutus unedo
  • Atriplex halimus
  • Bupleurum fruticosum
  • Chamaerops humilis
  • Cistus albidus
  • Cistus crispus
  • Cistus ladanifer
  • Cistus monspeliensis
  • Cistus salvifolius
  • Coronilla valentina
  • Genista hirsuta
  • Lavandula stoechas luisieri
  • Lavandula dentata candicans
  • Medicago arborea
  • Myrtus communis
  • Phillyrea angustifolia
  • Phlomis purpurea
  • Pistacia lentiscus
  • Quercus coccifera
  • Rhamnus alaternus
  • Rosmarinus officinalis
  • Spartium junceum
  • Thymbra capitata
  • Viburnum tinus
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Hyparrhenia hirta
  • Pennisetum setaceum
  • Stipa tenacissima
  • Climbers
  • Aristolochia baetica
  • Clematis cirrhosa
  • Clematis flammula
  • Lonicera periclymenum
  • Smilax aspera

Scilla peruviana

Scilla peruviana

Locust shells near the natural swimming pool

Locust shells near the swimming pool Crop

Plants noted:

  • Aloe ferox
  • Aloe striata
  • Asparagus acutifolius
  • Bauhinia blakeana
  • Brachychiton populneus
  • Buxus sempervirens fruticosa
  • Cassia artemisioides
  • Celtis australis
  • Cercis siliquastrum
  • Cistus hybridus
  • Cistus populifolius
  • Cussonia spicata
  • Daphne gnidium
  • Dicliptera suberecta
  • Elaeagnus x ebbingei
  • Eriocephalus africanus
  • Escallonia rubra var. macrantha
  • Euphorbia milii
  • Euphorbia rigida
  • Gladiolus illyricus
  • Haemanthus coccineus
  • Jasminum polyanthum
  • Lithodora fruticosa
  • Lupinus angustifolius
  • Lupinus micranthus
  • Melaleuca alternifolia
  • Morus alba
  • Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina
  • Nepeta tuberosa
  • Nerium oleander
  • Pistacia terebinthus
  • Polygala myrtifolia
  • Salvia africana-lutea
  • Salvia discolor
  • Sarcopoterium spinosum
  • Serapias lingua
  • Strelitzia reginae
  • Tulipa clusiana
  • Vetiver zizanioides
  • Wisteria sinensis ‘Rosea’

NaBloPoMo_2015